By Alex the Kosherologist
An example of what can be done with simple ingredients, Gumbos are a native American dish-born of the meeting of French, Spanish, German, African, and Choctaw cuisines in New Orleans’ kitchens. Gumbo derives its name from a corruption of the African Bantu word for okra, the vegetable with which gumbo is traditionally thickened. The consistency of a gumbo is between that of a soup and a stew and is typically served with boiled rice-or in this case, with beer battered matzah balls. This kosher sausage and chicken gumbo is inspired by and adapted from the book ‘Matzoh Ball Gumbo’ by Marcie Cohen Ferris. As this is a kosher version of gumbo, pork is omitted from the recipe, and a kosher version of sausage is used. I recommend using either Jack’s Gourmet Spicy Southwestern style Beef sausage or their Cajun style Andouille turkey sausage (or both.) Visit Jack’s Gourmet’s website (jacks-gourmet-v2.myshopify.com) to shop their selection of kosher-certified gourmet sausages.
BEER BATTERED MATZAH BALLS
1 (5 oz.) package matzah ball mix (or use your favorite recipe)
Eggs and oil, according to mix/recipe
1 (4 oz.) package of Jack’s Gourmet Facon (optional)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cup (12 oz.) lager, or beer of your choice
Vegetable oil, for frying
- Fry the facon for 4-6 minutes, until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and let cool. Crumble the facon into small pieces, ensuring to remove the gristle from the center of the beef. Reserve Fat/drippings.
- Prepare the matzah ball mix according to package instruction and add crumbled facon. Cook according to package instructions. Once cooked, allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the beer until the mixture is well combined. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. In a large pot, heat approximately 2-3 cups of oil. Remove the matzah balls from the refrigerator. Gently dip the matzah balls into the beer batter and carefully drop the battered matzah balls into the oil, one at a time. Allow the matzah balls to fry for 10-15 seconds on each side. Remove from the pot and drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Set aside. Reheat before serving.
One of the keys to a successful gumbo is the roux-a mixture of equal parts fat and flour that serves as a thickener for the stew. This recipe uses a dark roux. Among Louisianan cooks there is a saying ” Don’t turn your back on your spouse or your roux.” Keep your eye on your roux, as burning the roux even slightly will ruin the flavor of the gumbo.
To make the roux, you will need the reserved facon fat, plus enough vegetable oil to make 1/2 cup fat; and 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour. In a saucepan, combine the fat and flour. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 18-20 minutes, until a dark caramel/ peanut-butter color and the roux is thick and emits a strong nutty aroma. Remove from heat and set aside.
1 lb. fresh or frozen okra, cut/sliced
1 (10 oz.) package Jack’s Southwestern Style Beef Sausage or Andouille Turkey Sausage
2-3 lb. de-boned chicken thighs or breasts, cut into rough 2″ chunks
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 lg. yellow onion, chopped
2 lg. stalk celery, chopped
1 lg. green bell pepper, chopped
1 med. red bell pepper, chopped
1 med. yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, un-drained
1 (14.5 oz.) can kernel corn, drained
3 tbs. tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- In a large skillet, heat 3-4 TBS. olive oil over medium heat. Add the okra and cook, stirring often, until tender and lightly browned-about 8-12 minutes. Transfer to a large soup-pot.
- Heat 2 TBS. olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often, until browned-about 7-8 minutes. Transfer to the soup pot.
- Season the chicken with 1 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Add 1 TBS. olive oil to the sausage drippings in the skillet and heat over medium heat. Cook the chicken until lightly browned-about 2-5 minutes. Transfer to the soup pot.
- Add the onion, garlic, bell-peppers, and celery to the pan and cook, stirring often, until tender-about 6-8 minutes.
- Transfer to the soup-pot and add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, thyme, and seasonings.
- Bring to medium-high heat and whisk in the roux, until well blended. Gradually add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes.
- Serve with Beer Battered Matzah Balls and/or over a bed of boiled rice. Note: Gumbo gathers flavor with time and taste best day following preparation.